The ensemble also comes in handy when little Amy finds herself on thin ice: claps indicate the ice is cracking and clawing at her legs shows her sinking into the water. Jo rescues her, and the near-death experience makes it easier to forgive Amy for, in a fit of pique, having thrown Jo's unfinished novel into the fire.

Such family dramatics. They even include Beth getting scarlet fever from a baby that died in her lap. But it's the romances of the March sisters that involve them the most. Jo intends to be a writer and insists she will never marry, which would slow her down. But after turning down one proposal, when she goes to a big city to do some trivial writing for newspapers, she does develop feelings for Prof. Bhaer (Alex Duckworth), an older man who was teaching her German. Amy, who is given delightful vivacity by Westgate, ends up marrying someone who never took her seriously when they were younger. And pretty Meg, who could have parlayed her looks into a wealthy match, ends up marrying a poor tutor.

Those sweet March girls. Still models for us all.

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